City Mourns Former Mayor & Judge

Steve Bercik Meant Business For Elizabeth

by James Devine

ELIZABETH—The city mourned the conclusion of an extraordinary life after Steven J. Bercik died Saturday, June 14, 2003 in the Watchung Ridge Assisted Living Center, Watchung.

As mayor of Elizabeth from 1956 through 1964, Judge Bercik established the Elizabeth Human Relations Commission and led an unprecedented initiative to attract business to the city. More than 200 companies relocated to Elizabeth during his tenure in City Hall, opening up the industrial center along Dowd Avenue and Division Street.

The Bercik administration spanned two different city charters, first in two consecutive two-year terms and then in one four-year term.

Following his tenure as mayor, he was appointed by Gov. Richard Hughes for the post of New Jersey Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor from 1966 through 1971.

Judge Bercik maintained a law practice in Elizabeth until he was appointed as judge to the juvenile and domestic court of Union County in 1972. He served as presiding judge from 1977 until retiring in 1988.

He was a 1941 graduate of John Marshall College, Jersey City, where he served as class president. He played semi-pro baseball in the New Jersey Industrial League. He was a 1947 graduate of John Marshall Law School, Jersey City, where he also served as class president.

Judge Bercik was a member of the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges, the New Jersey State Juvenile Court Judges Association, the Judicial College, the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Union County Bar Association.

He was a was a member and past grand knight of the Elizabeth Knights of Columbus, past president of the Young Democrats of Union County and was inducted to the St. Patricks High School Hall of Fame.

Judge Bercik received the Catholic Youth Organization Award for distinguished service to the youth of the community, the Martin Kelly Simberloff Award for contribution to race relations, the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Union County Young Man of the Year Award and the New Jersey Junior Chamber of Commerce Award for Outstanding Man in Government.

A native of New Jersey, he lived in Elizabeth for many years before moving to Watchung.

Surviving are Catherine V., his wife of 60 years; sons, Steven J. Jr., Dr. Michael Bercik, Dr. Robert J. Bercik, Dr. Kevin Bercik and Dr. Richard Bercik; daughters, Anne Marie Bercik, Ph.D., Patricia Kirkowski, Mary Ellen Bercik-Nies and Jean O’Toole, and 23 grandchildren.

He is buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery, in Berkeley Heights.


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